Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: The Secret Sense of Wildflower by Susan Gabriel

Title: The Secret Sense of Wildflower
Author: Susan Gabriel
Format: Ebook
Publisher: Wild Lily Arts
Publish Date: April 22, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading Your Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
  • You don't mind hard topics
What's the Story?:

From "Set in 1940s Appalachia, The Secret Sense of Wildflower tells the story of Louisa May “Wildflower” McAllister whose life has been shaped around the recent death of her beloved father in a sawmill accident. While her mother hardens in her grief, Wildflower and her three sisters must cope with their loss themselves, as well as with the demands of daily survival. Despite these hardships, Wildflower has a resilience that is forged with humor, a love of the land, and an endless supply of questions to God, who she isn't so sure she agrees with. When Johnny Monroe, the town’s teenage ne’er-do-well, sets his sights on Wildflower, she must draw on the strength of her relations, both living and dead, to deal with his threat.

With prose as lush and colorful as the American South, The Secret Sense of Wildflower is powerful and poignant, brimming with energy and angst, humor and hope. In its ability to create a truly original Southern voice, The Secret Sense of Wildflower establishes Gabriel as a thoughtful and powerful Southern writer."

My Two Cents:

This is a really powerful story. The situation in the book would be hard for anyone to deal with. Louisa May "Wildflower" is a force to contend with. You will fall in love with her. She's so young but she's already been through so much. 1940s Appalachia isn't the easiest place to live in in the first place but with everything that Wildflower deals with in the book, it's even worse.

I really love when you read a book and get so involved with the characters in the book that you don't want the book to end. This is exactly how I felt about Wildflower. She's a tough girl. I know that a lot of people would crumble under the pressure that she's under. After her beloved father's death, Wildflower's family is struggling. Her mother isn't the same and absolutely refuses to address her own sadness over her husband's untimely death. Wildflower deals with her father's death in her own way, which eventually leads to trouble. I really felt for her throughout the book.

The story is told from the point of view of Wildflower, which really makes the story even more powerful. I thought the author did a great job of capturing Wildflower. In some ways, she's wise beyond her years, which makes her incredibly strong and resilient. In other ways, she is still very much a 14 year old girl. At that age, it's easy to think that you're really invincible and this is exactly what gets Wildflower into trouble but her strength and resilience is what helps her find her way back.

I also liked the setting of the book. I haven't read a whole lot of books set in Appalachia. Living in Maryland, Appalachia really is not too far away from me but I don't know too much about it. You definitely get a good sense of how hard people had it then in this story. There is a lot of good historical detail about what life was like and how people lived.

Bottom line: A great story about a strong character!



  1. This sounds like a really great story, adding it to my TBR list!

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful and well-written review, Meg. You're one of the best book bloggers out there! (IMHO)

    Readers can go to my website ( they want to ask me any questions or find out more about The Secret Sense of Wildflower. Btw, it's also available in paperback anywhere you like to buy books. :)

    With every good wish,
    Susan Gabriel


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